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Caution, science to help China tame COVID-19 during holiday travel rush

Xinhua | Updated: 2021-01-05 08:12
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Passengers line up at a railway station in Shijiazhuang, Hebei province, Oct 7, 2020. [Photo/Xinhua]

With a prudent, scientific approach to COVID-19 prevention and control, China has the capability and confidence to avoid a mass outbreak during the upcoming annual Spring Festival travel rush, despite seeing sporadic cases in several cities over the past few weeks.

This year's 40-day Spring Festival travel rush, starting from late January with 407 million expected railway passenger trips, poses a new test for China's COVID-19 control. Yet the world's biggest annual human migration will not be much affected as the country has put in place strict measures, which have proven effective in preventing the mass spread of the coronavirus.

Amid uncertainties in the epidemic situation in winter, Chinese authorities launched prompt and more targeted responses to sporadic outbreaks in cities like Beijing, Chengdu, Shenyang and Dalian, and have quickly and effectively brought the local outbreak situation under control.

The country is now acquainted with the regularities of and experience gained from COVID-19 prevention and control, especially during times of pressure, such as school reopening, summer vacation and the National Day Golden Week holiday. It is entirely possible to stay safe during the upcoming travel rush thanks to epidemic preparedness, careful planning and proper deployment.

China has been exploring effective ways to address worldwide concerns over the risk of infection and the challenges to COVID-19 prevention and control brought by population mobility, taking proactive but prudent actions to prevent the resurgence of the virus. The country's education authorities have called for staggered holiday and spring semester schedules; factories are implementing staggered employee vacations; and people are advised to reduce unnecessary gatherings and cross-region travel, and to learn about local COVID-19 situations and related control policies in advance if travel is necessary.

China has begun administering COVID-19 vaccines among high-risk groups including medical workers, customs officers, primary-level COVID-19 prevention workers, overseas returnees, and people working in cross-border cold-chain logistics and isolation centers.

Last week, the country announced that it had granted conditional marketing authorization for its first COVID-19 vaccine developed by the Beijing Biological Products Institute Co., Ltd. under the China National Biotec Group, with interim results of its phase-three clinical trials showing it is 79.34 percent effective against COVID-19.

The quality and efficacy of the China-developed vaccine is well acknowledged. Some countries have approved the registration and use of Chinese vaccines, based on their phase-three clinical trial results indicating high efficacy and safety without serious adverse reactions.

The Spring Festival is a traditional holiday of the Chinese nation, and people strongly wish to travel. That the Chinese people can expect to travel for family reunions in an orderly and safe manner during this upcoming traditional festival is China's big success in combating COVID-19, as the government is sparing no efforts to guard against new COVID-19 infections and sporadic outbreaks to ensure safe and smooth travel of the public.

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